LAS VEGAS: A DIFFERENT CITY, THE SAME GOD
This past weekend, our team set off for Las Vegas to reach some of the thousands of women who are sexually exploited there. The plan was simple: to hand out roses, each with a hand written message on a card that says ‘Because You Matter’. Our team spent time in prayer before we left for the “track” (track = section of the street where girls are typically sold). As we prayed God reminded me of the simple truth that He is unchanging: His love, His grace, His mercy, His justice, His power, His gentleness and His faithfulness never change.
So far that weekend, however, a lot had changed…
Our plans changed. At first we intended to partner with two different ministries for our trip but at the last minute both these things fell through. Sure of the fact that God had called us to Las Vegas on this particular weekend, we stepped out in faith and went anyway. We knew that we had been called to Vegas and that God hadn’t changed His mind; He had a purpose in us going there. We know that when our plans change, He remains.
Our city changed. God reminded us as we prayed that although we were in a completely different city, in a different state, that He is the same God who goes with us when we head out to the streets of LA. The same God of angel armies who is our guardian, who promises to go before us and go with us when we’re in LA will remain faithful and protect us on the streets of Las Vegas. When our cities change, He remains.
Our hearts changed. Before we went out, God led us into a time of repentance. Once again He changed our hearts towards the men that purchase these precious women, reminding us that they are equally broken. He took our focus away from ourselves and reminded us that this weekend was all about Him and His beautiful daughters that He has called us to reach. In a section of a book I’m reading it talks about how repentance invites the glory of God and prepares us for His presence. Repentance eliminates hindrances and distractions, allowing us close enough to God for Him to “guide us with His eye”.
We left for the track, knowing that we had prepared the way for His presence; and knowing that the same God who had changed our hearts also has the power and the desire to change the hearts of the women we reach out to. I was reminded of the following verses in Isaiah 1:
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
God spoke that He wanted to bring that same message to the girls on the track. Little did we know how true that would be…
The first girl we met that night (we’ll call her "P") was so excited to see us. She enthusiastically reached for one of the white roses with a card that read: “God sees you, He knows your heart and He loves you no matter what you do”. Both P and her friend were very open to talk to us and tell us about their lives. We asked them if we could pray for them and P replied “I can’t pray to God, He won’t listen to my prayers”. That moment was so powerful. We were able to speak truth and tell her that God loves her regardless of what she’s done and He will hear her. I pray that the truth of God’s unchanging love for her will resonate as she looks at her rose and our card this week.
By the end of the night we hadn’t handed out as many roses as we’d hoped, but once more God told us that when things don’t go our way, He is the same God. He is still good.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
When things change and don’t go quite as we’d planned, He remains. No matter how we feel or how hard it gets in a ministry where we don’t always see fruit, I’m reminded that He is always worthy of our praise, we can always rejoice in Him, because He never changes.
I pray that this week, the women that we reached in Las Vegas will get a small glimpse of the incredible, unchanging love that God has for them.